Lambs to the Slaughter (1963)
1h 39min · Drama · 14 February 1963
Strange things happen in the overnight express: according to a cryptic, obviously military announcement, the train's telephone link with the outside world has been cut off, access to the rear part of the train has been barred, the windows cannot be opened and the train does not stop at any station. While the train's secretary decides to get to the bottom of these ominous events, the other passengers react quietly and are annoyed by the young woman's anxiety. A young priest prevents her from pulling the emergency brake. He preaches to her about the commandment "Respect the emergency brake". One of the passengers, an industrial psychologist, delivers a lecture over the train's loudspeakers in support of the priest's demand that everyone keep quiet. It is finally found that the emergency brake does not work either, but no-one protests. Everyone laughs at the secretary and the priest explains to one old lady that the measures have been imposed by a responsible authority. Champagne is served, everyone is laughing and dancing - everything is as it should be and there is nothing to worry about. The passengers play a game to pass the time. The game is called "Animals to the slaughter". One after another, they mime the killing of an animal while the others guess which animal is being killed. Finally, a journalist demonstrates how people are killed: general humming represents an air raid, the nuclear mushroom is drawn in the air. Some of the passengers who have not joined in the game have gathered in the secretary's compartment. They want an explanation for the mysterious goings-on. Suddenly the train comes to a standstill and for a moment the people panic, but they all calm down when the train moves off and the lights come on again. The secretary makes one last attempt to reach the barred compartments at the rear of the train, but is prevented by a "democratic" vote by the passengers. The majority do not wish to know what is going on in the train. When they reach their destination, the girl is led away by the conductor and the other passengers quietly alight from the train.
- Written by
Director(s): Egon MonkCast: Bruno Dietrich, Uwe Friedrichsen, Ingmar Zeisberg